Birthday Double

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The ‘upper’ path from Far Arnside. Third time running I’d foolowed this path, which I don’t usually use.

Long-suffering readers will know that on, or close to, my birthday I like to climb a hill to celebrate. This year, my Lingmoor walk was just two days before my birthday and a couple of days later I was back in the Little Langdale area with TBH, so I did pretty well.

On the actual day, the forecast was pretty ropey. Never-the-less, we managed to persuade the boys to join us for a walk to Arnside over the Knott. Possibly the promise of a pie in Arnside had some influence on their decision.

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In Far Arnside, we sheltered behind a tall hedge for the duration of a short, sharp hail shower. It was pretty fierce, but also wind-driven so that in the lea of the hedge it came over our heads and we didn’t do too badly.

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Warton Crag, the Bay and Bowland from Heathwaite. I think you can see showers tracking in off the Bay.
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Taking a Heathwaite selfie. Not sure why Little S wasn’t included.
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Far Arnside and The Bay.
As we approached the toposcope on the Knott, the heavens opened again.
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Kent Estuary in the rain.
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River Kent, Cartmel Fell, Gummer How, Yewbarrow and Whitbarrow Scar – bigger fells beyond conspicuous by their absence.

Fortunately, it was another short-lived shower. And the pies and sausage-rolls at the Old Bakehouse went a long-way as compensation for the changeable weather.

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Kent Viaduct. Louring skies.
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Arnside Tower – blue skies!

As I said – a very changeable day.

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Quince.

A had been working on my birthday and so wanted to go for a walk the following day. The weather was similar to the day before and although we had originally planned to go to Arnside for pies again, A eventually decided that a short Eaves Wood stroll would have to suffice.

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TBH and A at the Pepper Pot.

It’s very handy having some little hills on the doorstep to climb when the weather isn’t conducive to a longer expedition!

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Birthday Double

Glasson Dock and Cockersand Abbey

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Taking in the view from…Bodie Hill or Tithe Barn Hill. The road sign has one, the OS map the other.

Back to July. The Madley Massive were in town, collecting the Professor at the end of his term. Andy had the excellent idea of meeting for a walk at Glasson, seeing that the forecast wasn’t great, so that a coastal walk seemed like a sensible alternative to a soaking in the hills. I carried an umbrella, but it wasn’t needed and the weather brightened during the walk, so that we eventually had some sunshine.

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Across the Lune to Sunderland Point.
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Coattages at Crook Farm – with large anchor and….buoy?

There’s something very enticing about the paraphernalia of shipping and trawling: nets, lobster pots, anchors and such like. Is this big rusty ball a former buoy? I suppose that if metal ships can keep afloat then so can metal buoys?

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By coincidence, TBH and I had occasion to walk a short part of the Lancashire Coastal Way a couple of days ago and I was thinking how nice it would be to walk it all, or at least the part which goes around Morecambe Bay.

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Plover Scar Lighthouse.

Funny what perspective can do – I assumed that Plover Scar lighthouse was quite small, but I’ve since read that it is 8m tall. Now I’m thinking that I’d like to have a wander out, at low tide, to take a closer look. Lighthouses too are fascinating in some way. This was one of a pair which used to guide ships into the Lune Estuary. It was damaged in 2016 when it was hit by a commercial ship which was on its way into the docks at Glasson. Must be a bit embarrassing to run into a lighthouse.

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Lancashire Coastal Way, looking towards the Forest of Bowland hills.
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Approaching the remains of Cockersand Abbey.

In his post about this walk, Andy had this to say:

I’m sure when Mark gets around to posting about this walk (sometime in 2027 I think) I’m sure he’ll tell you more about it.

So: around 1180 a hermitage was built here, which soon became a hospital, then a priory and finally an abbey. It belonged, in the first instance, to Leicester Abbey, which seems quite odd, given that Leicester is quite a long way from here. When it was built, this area was marshland, so the location is a bit odd in that respect too.

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Cockersand Abbey Chapter House.

The intact building is the Chapter House, where meetings would have taken place, which was restored and refurbished and used as a mausoleum, from 1750 to 1861 by the Dalton family of nearby Thurnham Hall. The actual abbey was much more extensive than this small building would suggest. Here’s the Historic England listing.

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This track took us to a minor lane which ought to have been quiet, it being a dead-end road, but in fact there was quite a lot of traffic, presumably due to the caravan park at the end of the road.

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Lancaster Canal, Glasson Dock spur.
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The marina at Glasson.
Glasson Dock and Cockersand Abbey

Grange-Over-Sands and Back

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TBH on a traffic-free section of the Morecambe Bay Cycleway.

Exactly what it says on the tin – TBH and I ticking off a bit more of the Morecambe Bay Cycleway by pedalling to Grange-Over-Sands and back again.

This is our longest outing in the saddle to date and yet I didn’t take all that many photos. The one above was the first I took, on a section which runs parallel to the busy A590. By that point, we’d already cut a corner across to Milnthorpe, since we had cycled route 700 through Arnside on a previous occasion; cycled the marvellously flat leg between Milnthorpe and Levens Hall, which has fabulous views; stopped at Levens Hall hoping to buy lunch, but, finding it very busy, had to content ourselves with cups of tea; and finally managed to get some lunch at the Gilpin Bridge Inn – standard pub fare but most welcome at that point, as were the couple of pints which accompanied it.

I can see why cyclists are fond of helmet-mounted video cameras: it’s a faff stopping every time you want to take a photo. However, I can’t see myself buying such a camera, or for that matter a helmet to fix it to, any time soon.

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Arnside Knott across the Kent.

I did find time to stop in the vicinity of Ulpha, where I was very struck by the views of Arnside Knott from an angle which we aren’t used to seeing.

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Whitbarrow Scar.
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Most of the route was quite flat, as you might expect skirting around the edge of estuarine mud-flats, but both Levens and Meathop had some significant climbs.

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Arnside Knott again, this time from Grange Prom.
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Grange Prom.

In Grange we found another cafe and indulged in more refreshments. It had been a warm day and I bought both tea and coke and had my water bottle refilled to boot.

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Whitbarrow Scar again.
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River Gilpin.

Having not started very early (no surprise there!) and stopped several times on our outward journey, we were running quite late to get back and cook the kids tea. On our way back then, by contrast, we hardly stopped at all. Somewhere close to Storth my phone ran out of charge and I ran out of steam. Not so TBH who continued to fly along at a good pace. The straight line between Storth and Park Lane on the second map below is entirely fictitious. I suspect the actual total distance was a little over 60km or a little under 40 miles, which is probably just a warm-up for a keen cyclist, but was quite enough for me.

Grange-Over-Sands and Back

June. Well, Most of it.

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Cotton-grass at Foulshaw Moss

The year is almost up and the blog is stuck in June. So….better get a shift on.

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Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker.

First off, some shots from an evening to Foulshaw Moss when A was dancing.

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An Orb-weaver Spider, possibly a Larinioides cornutus female.
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The limestone hills of home across Morecambe Bay.

Next door neighbour and all-round good-egg BB was interested in our ebikes; I suggested he borrow one and join me for a trip. We cycled to Morecambe. As you can see, the weather was fantastic, but there was a strong wind blowing, unusually, from the South, so that cycling along the Prom was an uphill struggle. The compensation was that on our way back again we felt like we had wings. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of our memorable refreshment stops, at the Hest Bank for a pint on our outward trip and at The Royal in Bolton-le-Sands for a lovely meal and a couple more ales in their sunny beer garden.

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Bike maintenance BB style.
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Choppy waves from the end of the Stone Jetty in Morecambe. Lake District Fells beyond.
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X-Ray and TBH in Clarke’s Lot.

Old friend X-Ray visited to catch up. It was very grey day, but we dragged him out for our usual wander around Jenny Brown’s Point anyway.

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Warton Crag and Clougha Pike beyond.
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Another Foulshaw Moss view.

Another taxi-Dad trip to Foulshaw Moss. Things have moved on since then – A has passed her driving test and doesn’t need any more lifts to Milnthorpe. I shall need a new excuse to visit Foulshaw Moss.

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Sedge Warbler (I think).
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Foxglove.
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Birch Polyp.
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Azure Damselfly.
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Green Lacewing, possibly Chrysopa perla.
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Crane Fly.
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TBH cycling past the visitor centre at Leighton Moss.

Finally, a shorter bike ride with TBH which took us to Holme and back via some very quiet lanes. It almost went horribly wrong when I made the mistake of leaving TBH a little behind (she having chosen not to use an ebike) and she, inexplicably, took a left turn, even though I’d mentioned the fact that we would go through Yealand Redmayne. It all worked okay in the end, after a few puzzling moments and a bit of cycling back and forth looking for each other.

A couple more June bike rides to follow… eventually.

June. Well, Most of it.

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

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Early Purple Orchid, The Lots.

A post to round of the final week of April. The orchid is from and a short Sunday afternoon stroll across The Lots. Earlier in the day I’d had a walk along the Lune with The Tower Captain, whilst our respective lads were training at Underley Park, home of Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC.

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River Lune near Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Pipe Bridge over the Lune…
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Carrying water from Haweswater to Heaton Park reservoir in Manchester.
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Harmony Hall and Laburnum House in Milnthorpe.
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These last two photos from a lazy evening stroll whilst A was dancing.

The next time she has a lesson, I was more ambitious and drove to park by Leven’s Bridge for a walk by the River Kent.

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Force Falls, River Kent.

This circular route was a firm favourite when the kids were younger. It’s around three miles – not too taxing for little legs. Not bad for an evening stroll either.

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Solomon’s Seal by the Kent.
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River Kent.

Later in the walk, I encountered both the Bagot Goats and the Bagot Fallow Deer, both unique to the Levens Deer Park. I took photos of the goats, but it was too dark by then. (This post, from the early days of the blog, has photos of both, and of the boys when they were cute and not towering teenagers)

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Midland Hotel Morecambe, from the Battery. It’s here that, hopefully, the Eden Project North will be built.
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Lake District Fells from Morecambe Prom.
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Midland Hotel again. Arnside Knott behind and right of the small building on the Stone Jetty.

TBH and I had a half-hour stroll along Morecambe Promenade, prior to picking up B from meeting his friends in Heysham.

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

The Weather is Variable

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TBH by the Pepper Pot.

Photos from a week’s worth of walks from back in January. This first is from the Sunday, the day after the glorious Saturday which featured in my previous post. As you can see, the snow was gone and so too the blue skies and sunshine.

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The lights of Grange from the Cove.

Monday must have been another drear day, because I had a reasonably substantial stroll after work, but only took photos from The Cove when it was almost dark.

On the Tuesday, I didn’t start teaching until after 11 and so took the opportunity to have a wander around Jenny Brown’s Point.

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The path down from Fleagarth Wood

The weather was a complete contrast from the day before. I think it was even quite mild.

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Farleton Fell in the distance.
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Quicksand Pool.

The tide was well in.

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Smelting works chimney.
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Mergansers. I think.
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Jack Scout coast. Coniston Fells on the horizon.
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The drab, dingy weather returned on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Wednesday – Elmaslack Lane.

Around the village, people had put their Christmas lights up early and now left them up late.

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Thursday – The Green, another late afternoon walk.

Using MapMyWalk usually persuades me to take at least one photo on each walk, so that I can attach it the file for that walk. I quite like having a visual record even of the gloomy days.

Friday brought a hard frost in the morning.

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Frosty windscreen.

And the longest walk of the week in the afternoon (only about six and a half miles).

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Wigeon (male).

I actually took lots of bird photos, particularly of a Little Egret which was close in shore, but the light was a bit weird…

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Lovely, but weird.

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Rounding Arnside Point into the Kent I was surprised to see that Hampsfell and the other hills across the river had a covering of snow.

And then, when I climbed to Heathwaite, I discovered that we had some too…

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In fact, on the Knott, there was quite a bit…

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It was getting late, and I had the top to myself. I was disproportionately chuffed to have found some snow to crunch, and had a good wander around the highest part of the Knott.

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Obligatory winter photo of flooded Lambert’s Meadow.

The weekend brought more cloud and damp.

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On the Sunday, I walked our now habitual Sunday circuit around Jenny Brown’s Point not once but twice, in the morning with our neighbour BB…

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And in the afternoon, with TBH.

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The tide well in at Quicksand Pool again.

Over the eight days represented here, I walked around thirty miles. Hardly earth-shattering, but not bad for a week when I was working and when daylight was at a premium. Working form home is a completely useless way to teach, but, from a completely selfish point of view, I was all in favour.

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So, pop-picker’s, the post’s title is from a song which, I’m pretty sure, I’ve shared here before.

The weather’s variable – so are you
But I can’t do a thing – about the weather

Here’s another couplet:

You dislike the climate but you like the place
I hope you learn to live with what you choose

Anybody know it? It’s from an album called ‘Magic, Murder and The Weather’ if that helps?

The Weather is Variable

Christmas Floral Survey

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A few photos from the week leading up to Christmas. Since I had MapMyWalk working again, I can say that I got out almost every day over the Christmas break, often more than once, almost exclusively for local wanders.

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One day, TBH and went up Arnside Knott. The weather was really odd: looking south it was hazy, with the Bowland skyline obscured by low cloud and a bit of low-lying mist. The effect, I thought, was to make Warton Crag look bigger than it usually does.

On the other hand, looking north…

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…although many of the hills were obscured by cloud, there was a good deal more clarity and a healthy helping of blue sky.

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Primroses often appear on a grassy bank along Cove Road in early February, quite a bit earlier than they are found elsewhere. But this winter, they started to flower before Christmas. I’m always intrigued to see what I can find in flower at the turn of the year, since it’s often a much greater variety of plants than you might expect.

Looking at my photos, I found Stinking Hellebore, which is not that surprising, but also garden roses, Welsh Poppies, Geraniums and Ox-eye Daisies, none of which you’d really expect in late December.

Christmas Floral Survey

Not Missing the Point

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Photos from three consecutive weekend’s walks around Jenny Brown’s.

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This first set are a bit odd, because there’s plenty of blue sky over the Bay, but it’s grey inland and the light is very flat.

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Must have been a Sunday morning walk, which is generally when TBH and I chose to have a wander together.

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We finished across the sands, which we didn’t often do, and they weren’t quite as firm and dry as we’d anticipated, but firm enough, fortunately – no quicksand drama to report! Hard to tell in the photos, but the Coniston Fells had a covering of snow.

This photo…

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…on the other hand, was clearly from a late afternoon walk; the warm light is a giveaway.

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I remember this walk well. Unusually, I was on my own, I don’t remember why.

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I finished across the sands again and, even close in shore, being out there on a winter afternoon as the light faded and the lights around The Bay came on, felt quite wild and special.

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Finally, one photo from another rainy walk around the point. On our regular walks we’d watched Quicksand Pool undercut the high far bank of the channel. We’d often hear the clump and splash of a section falling away. It was interesting to see, each week, how the bank and the channel had changed.

Not Missing the Point

The Kent Channel, A Farl, House Sparrows.

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Collared Dove on Cove Road.

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Back on the sands – you can see the grey ‘skin’ which starts to develop on the sand after several hot days with low tides.

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There were people paddling in the channel. Since then B and his friends have started visiting this part of the Bay on hot days for a swim – the water is barely deep enough I gather, but they are still very glad of it.

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In the distance – quite hard to pick out – a group spanning at least three generations had a number of long fishing poles propped up on tripods. B and his mates have also tried fishing here. They caught nothing. Fishing with good friends and catching nothing sounds like the best kind of fishing to me, but I never really caught the fishing bug. We’ve since heard that there are Sea Bass to be had down near Jenny Brown’s at high tide. B assures me that he’s not after Sea Bass, he’s holding out for shark apparently!

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Morecambe Bay may be the most beautiful bay in Britain. Thanks to the tides, it drains more or less completely twice a day. You can be standing on sand that a short while before was under thirty feet of water and vice versa. It’s the vice versa that you have to worry about because the tide comes back in very quickly, not in a line like an advancing army, but in fingerlets and channels that can easily surround you and catch you by surprise. People sometimes go for walks, then belatedly notice that they are on a giant, but steadily shrinking sandbar.

Bill Bryson again. He doesn’t really do lukewarm – he either loves it or hates it. Most beautiful? That’s a bit of a stretch. Sandwood Bay springs to mind as a contender, but I am very fond of Morecambe Bay obviously.

I’ve finished ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ and enjoyed as I always seem to with his books.

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The channel had connected with the Kent and was now much further out from the shore.  Above you can see the now dry channel where it formerly ran.

After a couple of very thirsty walks, I’ve taken to carrying a rucksack on my longer local walks, so I can carry a drink. It’s also convenient to stow my camera away there too, which is all very well, until I want to capture a moment quickly. So these Brimstone butterflies…

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…which were disporting themselves on some Dame’s-violet had to be photographed with my phone. Not entirely satisfactory, but you can see the strong contrast between the buttery yellow male and the much paler female.

When I was wondering about whether or not the House Sparrows in our hedge would nest or not, I was completely forgetting the early morning racket we hear in our bedroom every summer. I’m not quite sure how I managed to forget that cacophony. Even though our house is pretty modern, in each corner of the roof there’s a tiny hole up under the eaves. At least two of them were occupied this year. This male…

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…is just pausing during a prolonged concerto of chirruping.

I’ve continued to make bread every couple of days, but not to take photographs. I made an exception for this one, because I hadn’t made a loaf like this before, a farl apparently…

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Turned out rather well and has become a bit of a favourite.

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TBH admiring the Ox-eye daisies on Cove Road.

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Another wander on the sands. This is the day after the previous walk.

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More sun-seekers. Our neighbour told me that many had driven up from Liverpool.

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Red Valerian outside the Silverdale Hotel.

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More amorous butterflies, once again photographed using my phone, this time Small Tortoiseshells.

The Kent Channel, A Farl, House Sparrows.

Off-comers and Invertebrates

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Since Whit week, whenever the sun has shone, we’ve witnessed the strange phenomena of people sun-bathing on the sands. I know I’m an advocate of our bay, but it isn’t a beach in a conventional sense, since it is more mud than sand. It was actually much busier than this photo suggests, but one thing the bay has going for it is that there is lots of room to spread out. We have also seen people way out, paddling in the sea, much further out than I would ever venture without a guide. Don’t they remember the horrific accident with the cockle-pickers?

My wander down to the beach was a precursor to another trip to gait Barrows.

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I sat on the path and took no end of photos of this tiny butterfly. I suspect that it’s a Northern Brown Argus, but I couldn’t swear to it.

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Equally, I think that this is an Azure Damselfly, but wouldn’t put up a fight if you contradicted me.

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This, however, is a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. I think I’ve seen more of them this year than in previous years put together, although that’s not saying  a great deal, since my previous sightings have been few and far between.

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Finally, a blue-tailed Damselfly.

Off-comers and Invertebrates